BTN / Comcast to Announce Agreement this Week

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SideshowBob

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Jun 5, 2008
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I'll believe a deal is finalized after the official announcement. Until then, I'm skeptical. Also, a similar article in the Philadelphia Inquirer offers a different take on the planned agreement:

Comcast, the nation's largest cable company, would provide the Big Ten programming on a preview basis on its main channel package, then reposition the network to its more expensive digital tier next spring, after the football and basketball seasons, the sources say.
Customers with enhanced basic service would have to upgrade to digital when the preview ends to keep the Big Ten Network. In the Philadelphia area, Comcast will skip the preview and carry the Big Ten Network right away on the digital tier, sources said.

If true, this would mean that it is Comcast that is "winning" in the sense of getting the placement they want within the entire region. This, however, is counter what has been reported eslewhere, so I have no idea what to think.
 
Madison Hawk

Madison Hawk

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I'll believe a deal is finalized after the official announcement. Until then, I'm skeptical. Also, a similar article in the Philadelphia Inquirer offers a different take on the planned agreement:



If true, this would mean that it is Comcast that is "winning" in the sense of getting the placement they want within the entire region. This, however, is counter what has been reported eslewhere, so I have no idea what to think.

It will be interesting to see what the final deal is when it is announced. My guess on the apparent discrepency is that the Chicago Tribune was receiving the Big Ten's side (Teddy Greenstein is well connected with senior Big Ten officials) and that the Philadelphia Inquirer was receiving Comcast's spin. The discrepency may not be that big substantively as I understand that Comcast is in the process of switching many of their analog customers to digital so there may be only a few Comcast analog customers left after next spring.
 
Madison Hawk

Madison Hawk

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It's Official; Comcast, Big Ten Network Reach Broad Multimedia Agreement for Big Ten

PHILADELPHIA & CHICAGO - (Business Wire) Comcast Corporation and the Big Ten Network announced today that they have reached a long-term multimedia agreement for Comcast to carry Big Ten Network programming across television, broadband and video-on-demand in time for the 2008 college football season.

Under the terms of the agreement, Comcast will initially launch the Network as part of its expanded basic level of service to promote it to the majority of its customers residing in states with Big Ten universities (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, with the exception of the Philadelphia region which will launch on a broadly distributed digital level of service) starting August 15th. (Comcast does not have systems in Iowa, the eighth Big Ten state.) In Spring 2009, Comcast may elect to move the network to a broadly distributed digital level of service in most of its systems in these states. Comcast’s digital customers in the Big Ten states will also have immediate access to live Big Ten games and events in high definition, Big Ten programming via Comcast’s video-on-demand platform, and a wide array of conference-related content through Comcast.net.

Outside of the Big Ten states that Comcast serves, Comcast has the option to provide Big Ten Network programming on any level of service, including its Sports Entertainment Package.

Comcast, Big Ten Network Reach Broad Multimedia Agreement for Big Ten Network Content
 
K

Kogs

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Jun 13, 2008
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PHILADELPHIA & CHICAGO - (Business Wire) Comcast Corporation and the Big Ten Network announced today that they have reached a long-term multimedia agreement for Comcast to carry Big Ten Network programming across television, broadband and video-on-demand in time for the 2008 college football season.

Under the terms of the agreement, Comcast will initially launch the Network as part of its expanded basic level of service to promote it to the majority of its customers residing in states with Big Ten universities (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, with the exception of the Philadelphia region which will launch on a broadly distributed digital level of service) starting August 15th. (Comcast does not have systems in Iowa, the eighth Big Ten state.) In Spring 2009, Comcast may elect to move the network to a broadly distributed digital level of service in most of its systems in these states. Comcast’s digital customers in the Big Ten states will also have immediate access to live Big Ten games and events in high definition, Big Ten programming via Comcast’s video-on-demand platform, and a wide array of conference-related content through Comcast.net.

Outside of the Big Ten states that Comcast serves, Comcast has the option to provide Big Ten Network programming on any level of service, including its Sports Entertainment Package.

Comcast, Big Ten Network Reach Broad Multimedia Agreement for Big Ten Network Content

heres the BTN release
Comcast, Big Ten Network Reach Broad Multimedia Agreement for Big Ten Network Content - Big Ten Network
 
S

SideshowBob

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Jun 5, 2008
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Seems like a win for Comcast -- they get to put the BTN on digital (in 1 year) within the Big Ten area and get to start it off in Philly (one of the largest markets in the country) on that level. And they have the option to put it on a sports tier throughout most of the country.

Is there any reason to think that Comcast won't put the BTN on all its systems nationwide but relegate it to a sports tier? What would be the downside to that -- people who want it will add a more expensive package. It hink we saw with the NFLN that when Comcast has a "option" of a tier, they won't opt for the widely distributed/cheaper one.

One question is: how much does it cost per subscriber? Will it vary depending on the tier?

That all said, digital coverage is pretty prominent at this point, so most people in the home area with Comcast will get it.
 
Madison Hawk

Madison Hawk

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Seems like a win for Comcast -- they get to put the BTN on digital (in 1 year) within the Big Ten area and get to start it off in Philly (one of the largest markets in the country) on that level. And they have the option to put it on a sports tier throughout most of the country.

Seems like a win for both sides. Comcast gets a significantly lower price (reported to be approximately $0.70 in the Big Ten region) than the BTN originally asked for and it sounds like a tremendous amount of on-demand content. The BTN gets broad distribution in the Big Ten footprint from the largest pay TV provider in the region.

Is there any reason to think that Comcast won't put the BTN on all its systems nationwide but relegate it to a sports tier? What would be the downside to that -- people who want it will add a more expensive package. It hink we saw with the NFLN that when Comcast has a "option" of a tier, they won't opt for the widely distributed/cheaper one.

I do not believe Comcast can do that. According to the press release, Comcast can only move the BTN in the Big Ten region to a "broadly distributed digital level of service". Presumably, this means digital basic so long as the digital penetration is a minimum percentage. It has been reported that 80% of Comcast's customers receive at least digital basic so while the BTN will not be on expanded basic after next Spring, it will still be widely distributed within the eight state Big Ten region. Outside the region, it will be more widely distributed than ESPNU or CBS College Sports due to its DirecTV relationship.
 
S

SideshowBob

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Jun 5, 2008
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I do not believe Comcast can do that. According to the press release, Comcast can only move the BTN in the Big Ten region to a "broadly distributed digital level of service". Presumably, this means digital basic so long as the digital penetration is a minimum percentage.

Sorry, I wasn't clear -- I was talking about within the non-Big Ten states. In the articles, it indicates that Comcast has the option to put it on systems outside of the Big Ten region, but can put it on any tier. I personally don't see why Comcast wouldn't do it in those 42 states and put it on the sports tier.
 
Madison Hawk

Madison Hawk

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Sorry, I wasn't clear -- I was talking about within the non-Big Ten states. In the articles, it indicates that Comcast has the option to put it on systems outside of the Big Ten region, but can put it on any tier. I personally don't see why Comcast wouldn't do it in those 42 states and put it on the sports tier.

Agreed. I am sure that is Comcast's plan, and the Big Ten was fine with sports tiers outside the Big Ten region. Early on the Big Ten conceded sports tier coverage in the other 42 states but drew the line in the sand at broad coverage in the Big Ten region, which is where most of the fans are (and where the costs to the providers are significantly higher). Since March, Dish Network customers outside the Big Ten region needed to subscribe to the Sports Pack to receive the BTN. The BTN still has the broad national coverage through DirecTV however.
 
S

SideshowBob

SatelliteGuys Guru
Jun 5, 2008
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Agreed. I am sure that is Comcast's plan, and the Big Ten was fine with sports tiers outside the Big Ten region. Early on the Big Ten conceded sports tier coverage in the other 42 states but drew the line in the sand at broad coverage in the Big Ten region, which is where most of the fans are (and where the costs to the providers are significantly higher). Since March, Dish Network customers outside the Big Ten region needed to subscribe to the Sports Pack to receive the BTN. The BTN still has the broad national coverage through DirecTV however.

And it seems like they'll have broad coverage on Verizon Fios -- early indications are it will be on the basic plan in Portland, OR which suggests that the BTN will be on all Fios plans nationally.
 
Madison Hawk

Madison Hawk

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And it seems like they'll have broad coverage on Verizon Fios -- early indications are it will be on the basic plan in Portland, OR which suggests that the BTN will be on all Fios plans nationally.

Good point. In addition, I believe that AT&T U-Verse FiOS also has the BTN available on its basic tier nationwide so there are at least three services that offer the BTN nationwide on basic tiers.
 
J

jpa25

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Aug 2, 2005
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I personally don't see why Comcast wouldn't do it in those 42 states and put it on the sports tier.

Agreed, however I just spoke with Comcast in the Boston area and they said they have no plans to add this channel, even to the paid sports package. I submitted a channel request, hopefully they get some interest and add it the package.
 

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